I’ve had the pleasure of knowing the folks who run Ventures Fly Co. for a few years now. They’re fishy people, and they have a keen eye for detail and value. When I saw their new Starter Packs, I got curious. Could they really provide everything you need for a day on the water in one package? And do it at a reasonable price point?
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Yeah, they could. And they did.
The Ventures Fly Co. Starter Pack is the most complete beginner fly fishing package on the market. If you’ve always wanted to try fly fishing, but never felt like you could justify the cost to explore it, then this Starter Pack may be just the thing for you.
What I Like
It has everything
The folks at Ventures Fly Co. really thought of everything when they put their Starter Pack together. Aside from a cooler and a few drinks of your choice, their Weekend Warrior Starter Pack has everything you need for a day on the water. This includes:
- Fly line
- Fly box and flies (you can choose from a box of 40 flies to a box of 200)
- Split shot
- Floatant and floatant caddy
- Net and net release
- Sling pack
Waders and boots are really the only gear the Starter Pack doesn’t come with, and I can’t blame Ventures for not trying to provide that, too.
Of particular interest here is the rod and reel combo. Now, I’ve been writing gear reviews for about a decade, and I’ve fished a lot of rod and reel combos. My favorite beginner rod is either the Fenwick Aetos or the Orvis Clearwater, depending on what I’m fishing for.
I’d put the 9′ 5-weight rod in the Ventures Starter Pack (dubbed “The Fly Flinger”) on par with the rods I just mentioned. It’s light, responsive, and versatile – everything you want and need in a beginner fly rod. Now, it’s not a premium stick, but neither is the Aetos or Clearwater. They’re excellent for folks just starting out in the sport.
The rest of the gear in the Ventures Fly Co. Starter Pack is of the same quality you’ll find from big-name manufacturers. The reel is cast aluminum, but it has a solid drag and doesn’t weigh too much. The leader, tippet, floatant, and indicators are all on-par with the terminal tackle you can purchase at any big-box retailer.
Over the past few years it feels like I’ve seen the overall quality of beginning fly fishing gear go up. That’s anecdotal, but it’s a claim I’m comfortable making based on how much gear I review.
With that in mind, I’d rank the Starter Pack from Ventures Fly Co highly on the quality scale. For the price, the gear is as nice as you’d expect. Nothing feels “cheap” per say, but nothing feels outrageously high-end, either. It’s a fantastic value at a fantastic price, which should be the goal of every beginning fly fishing outfit. If you outfit folks with subpar gear, how likely are they to fall in love with the sport and become lifelong customers?
Ventures found a happy medium between exceeding expectations for quality while staying within their price point. They should be commended for that.
The fly rod included in this starter pack will likely draw the most attention, and for good reason. The fly rod is the most critical part of fly fishing. Without it, nothing else really works.
The rod included here is a 9′ 5-weight with a crisp action that has surprisingly little swing weight. It’s more accurate than I expected, and does alright against the wind. As a beginner rod, it’s a very solid option. It could stand being stiffer, if only because that would negate the tracking issues at distance, but that’s the only complaint from a performance perspective.
This rod is ideally suited for fishing dry flies, nymphs, and smaller streamers. It handles dry-dropper rigs just fine, but as with many beginner rods, you have to work the cast to coax power when throwing multi-fly rigs.
The tip is soft enough for most dry fly fishing, and feels a bit softer than the Orvis Clearwater. Head-to-head, though, its performance is right on par with the Clearwater and Fenwick Aetos, as I noted earlier.
Ventures Fly Co. started by selling files, so it’s not a surprise that the fly collections included in this Starter Pack are excellent. The flies are all quality-checked before making it to anglers, and the variety is fantastic. Everything from traditional trout flies to slightly off-the-wall concepts is well represented. I wouldn’t hesitate recommending these flies to anyone, or even using them when guiding.
What I Don’t Like
I’m not a big fan of the slit-foam fly boxes. They tend to be bulky, and they don’t hold flies very well, especially dry flies. A collaboration with Tacky (another Utah-based brand, just like Ventures) would be fantastic here, and add tremendous value. Even a slimmer box with bare compartments could work, too.
The net that comes in this Starter Pack is great. It’s a rubber basket, which is much better on fish than any kind of fabric. However, the net basket isn’t very deep or wide. I’d like to see Ventures address this and add a net that’s slightly more user-friendly.
For $374.99, you get a ton of fly fishing gear that really does get you ready to hit the water. The quality is great, the value for the price is absolutely fantastic, and the folks at Ventures Fly Co. really did think of everything you’d need to hit the water running, so to speak.
That my two suggestions for improvement are about terminal tackle, and not the rod, reel, or overall quality of the products, should speak for itself. Ventures Fly Co. has put together one of the most impressive starter packs I’ve ever seen. I’d certainly recommend this to anyone who’s interested in getting started with fly fishing.
You can purchase the VFC Starter Pack or learn more about it here.
Spencer Durrant is a fly fishing writer, guide, and bamboo rod builder from Wyoming. He’s the News Editor for MidCurrent, and a columnist for Hatch Magazine. Connect with him on Instagram/Twitter, @Spencer_Durrant.